Marine Hugonnier’s works examine the ways in which representation constructs different ideas of landscape and history, asking “how landscape is a social construct; how it shapes and informs history, how it influences the course of events. We have created modes of analysis and perception—tools like photography and cinema—that echoed the expansionist mission of the time; that helped to establish a particular and perceptual point of view. I see landscape as a form of cultural mediation.” Hugonnier’s film Ariana, 2003, details a western film crew’s journey to the Pandjshar Valley in the north east of Afghanistan, eulogized in ancient Persian poetry as an oasis or Garden of Eden, since the impenetrable and lush nature of its landscape surrounded by the, individually unnamed, Hindu Kush Mountain range, have imbued it with a unique history of independence and resistance to the invasions of Soviet and Taliban ideologies. “To investigate how landscape can determine a region’s history, the crew uses a Super 16mm film in its attempt to employ the cinematic convention of the panorama to create a 360-degree view of the entire valley. However, the crew is denied access to the necessary viewpoint due to its strategic value and realizes that attempting to capture a panorama of the valley landscape would constitute a way of controlling it. Ariana emerges as the ‘making of’ a film that was never made, prompting a process of reflection on ideas of utopia and resistance, western ideas of viewpoint and the ‘panorama’ as a cinematic device and form of strategic overview.
Marine Hugonnier (Paris, France, 1969) studied for a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Tolbiac University, Paris, between 1991 and 1993. She continued her studies at Nanterre University, where she received a Master of Anthropology. She then studied art at the Fresnoy Studio National des Arts Contemporains, Lille, France. She has exhibited internationally, including solo exhibitions at: Villa Romana (Florence, Italy), Kunstverein (Brauschweig, Germany), Die Tankstelle (Berlin, Germany), Konsthall Malmo (Malmo, Sweden), FRAC Champagne-Ardenne (Reims, France), Galeria Nogueras Blanchard (Barcelona) and at the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007. She currently lives and works in London, UK.